Just when you think you’ve got N.C. State all figured out, the Wolfpack zigs when you expect them to zag.
Three days after a disastrous performance, N.C. State turned around and beat a tough Clemson team on the road 66-61 Tuesday night.
The Wolfpack (18-12, 9-8 ACC) beat the Tigers at their own physical game. The contest was one part basketball and two parts hand-to-hand combat, but N.C. State outdefended the defensive-minded Tigers for the bounce-back win.
Senior Ralston Turner scored 23 points to lead N.C. State to just its second win at Littlejohn Coliseum in its past seven trips.
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N.C. State was coming off one of its worst performances of the season, a 16-point loss at Boston College. It continued its own trend of redeeming an interesting loss with a tough road win.
Turner scored 21 of his points in the second half and 14 during a 25-3 run by the Wolfpack.
Clemson (16-13, 8-9) went more than 14 minutes without making a field goal in the second half. The Tigers led 30-24 at 16:49 in the second half before Turner made two 3-pointers. The Tigers’ offense went south as Clemson made two field goals in the first 16 minutes of the second half.
A technical foul on Clemson coach Brad Brownell helped spur the Wolfpack during the long run. Clemson guard Demarcus Harrison was called for a charge by official Roger Ayers at the 9:20 mark in the second half.
Brownell argued the call in what was a foul-filled second half (30 compared to 11 in the first half) and ended up with a technical for his efforts.
Turner’s 3-pointer at 4:16 capped the run for the Wolfpack, which went from down six to up 49-33.
The Wolfpack started slow in the first half, shooting 25 percent (6-of-24) and turning the ball over seven times, four by point guard Cat Barber.
Clemson wasn’t much better on offense (31.3 percent) and N.C. State was able to keep pace by making four 3-pointers.
Rod Hall scored the last two baskets of the half to give the Tigers a 21-20 lead. Neither team scored in the final 2:54 of the half.
Clemson continued its stifling defense to start the second half. A five-point spurt by freshman Donte Grantham stretched Clemson’s lead to 30-24 at 16:49.
Given the physical nature of the game, and the scoring problems on both sides, six points felt like double digits.
But Turner was able to pull N.C. State back into the game and the Wolfpack’s defense took over from there.
The Tigers went from the 17:46 mark until a 3-pointer by Gabe DeVoe at 3:23 without a made field goal.
DeVoe finished with 18 points in the final minutes.